CanChasers | Barrel Racing
Barrel racing is a rodeo event that features a horse or barrel racer and one rider, also called a barrel racer, running a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels in a triangular arrangement.
The cowgirl or cowboy will take up a gallop and ride towards the first barrel. They must make a complete loop around the barrel then accelerate toward the second barrel. At the second barrel, they will again make a complete loop, which means they will make the turn on the other lead then accelerate toward the third barrel. At the third barrel they will again make a complete loop and then run back to the start. The racers will pass through an electronic timer entering and leaving the barrel arrangement and the elapsed time is the time for the event.
It is permitted to touch the barrels but not to knock them over. Knocking a barrel over adds a 5 second penalty to the time. Since going wide around a barrel is slower, a delicate balance of speed and control must be made to achieve the fastest times. The time of the event is affected by the size of the arena in which the event is held, but the times for top professionals barrel races are between the 13-18 second range in most arenas.
A cowboy hat is part of the prescribed dress of the rider. If her hat falls off during a race, a rider will be fined $10-$25. This fine is unique to barrel-racing.
The sport is governed by several bodies. The Women's Pro Rodeo Association (WPRA) governs on the professional level and several amateur associations exist, including the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA).